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5 Apr 2019

Google cancels AI ethics board in response to employee criticism

Google announced it would be forming the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council to help the company manage the ethical challenges of A.I. The council consisted of eight members, one of which was Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation. Following this appointment, thousands of Google employees published an open letter calling for the removal of James from the Council, citing what they describe as her "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant" views. Board member Alessandro Acquisti also resigned. Just over one week after it was formed, Google dissolved the council saying that, "It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics."